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ISAAC OFFENBACH AND HIS SON JACQUES

9788415468165

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Jacobo Kaufmann.

2019, 395 pages.

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Thisuniquebook, firstpublishedinGermanandSpanish,isalready frequently quoted by musicologistsandscholarsworldwide,inmany differentlanguages,in booksandarticlesaboutworld famous composer Jacques Offenbach.

It is the first ever written  biographyof  Jacques  Offenbach’s  father,  Isaac Offenbach(1779-1850), for30yearscantorattheJewishCommunity inCologne (Germany),and himselfatalentedcomposer,musician and writer,aswell asan authorityinJewishlaw andculture.

This book,basedonthe discovery andresearchofmany unknowndocuments andsources,helpsthereader understandthe milieuthatshapedandleft a decisiveimprintonthemusicalcreationsby hissonJacquesOffenbach,the famouscomposerof more than onehundredoperettas andthecelebratedopera “TheTalesofHoffmann”.It alsoclearly provesthefathersJewishliturgical composition’s directinfluenceontheson, both on hispersonality andon his music.Thus,thisbooksheds new lightonthevery specialJewishcharacterthat joinstogethertheusually assumedFrench andGermaningredientsinJacques Offenbach’sworks, anaspectuntilnow neglectedby mostofhis biographers for morethan150years.Atthesametimeit providesadramaticandcolourful descriptionofJewishlifein 19th.Century Germany andFrance,its ordealsand dilemmas,againstthebackgroundofdecisivechangesaffectingEurope’ssocial,political andculturalscene. ThebookincludesamusicaltheatrePurimplay and delightfulsatiricalpoems never publishedbefore,thelargestOffenbachfamily treeevercompiled, morethan30illustrationswith familyportraitsand reproductionsfromIsaacOffenbach’smusicalscoresandmanuscripts,aswell as manyrecentlydiscovered documentsrelatedto his sonJacques.

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